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Interactive Animation in InDesign CS5

If you thought that the integration of FlashR with InDesignR was impressive in CS4, you will be excited with the new Animation Panel in InDesign CS5. With this panel you can add preset Flash animations, without the need for any coding, to your document while still working within the InDesign workspace. This is great for those designers who wish to create the layout of their Flash document in InDesign and export the results as a .fla file.

Let's take a look at what the new Animation panel in InDesign CS5 has to offer the designer. If you will be working with a lot of animation, you may wish to switch to InDesign's Interactive Workspace. Your first step is to select the design element that you wish to animate and open the Animation panel. You can add as many animations to a spread as you wish and each one is controlled through the Animation panel.

In the Animation panel, you will notice that InDesign has automatically given your object a name but you will probably want to change this to something less generic. You will also notice the pink butterfly placeholder object in the preview area. Just under the Name is the Preset menu. As you can see, you have many presets to choose from and you can also use custom presets. Depending on the preset you choose, an editable motion path for the animation will be added to the object in the spread.

Your next decision is to choose the event that will cause the animation to begin. Depending on the type of animation that you have chosen, you will have several choices such as On Page Load or On Roll Over. You will also want to decide on the Duration of the animation in seconds and how many times the animation will repeat. Finally, the Speed menu has the easing options. If you expand the Properties section in the Animation panel, you have more settings for Rotation, Scale, Opacity and Visibility.

To preview your animation as you are working, you don't need to leave InDesign. Click on the Preview Spread button (bottom of Animation panel). This will open the Preview panel and the animation will begin. Because you can have more than one animation on a spread, you will need to control their sequence. This will take us to the Timing panel. In this panel, you will get a list of the animations added to a spread. To reorder the sequence, simply drag the name of the animations up or down the list. To set the controls for one of the animations in the list, simply select the name. To play two or more animations simultaneously, select them and click the Play Together button. This links the animations together.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.

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